tv In the Arena CNN March 14, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
you see the homes and the stream and the farmland. utterly, devastating. it is shocking and stunning in the development. one more before we go tonight. bring this over. turn down natori. this is iwanuma, japan. breaks your heart. we'll see you back here. "the arena" starts right now. good evening, i'm eliot spitzer. welcome to our program. breaking news right now. just keeps getting worse. the last of the three reactors of the fukushima power plant in northern japan is now the scene of an explosion. this was reported just minutes ago on nhk, the japanese television network. in recent days, there had been explosions in the other reactors. number two was the one they were desperately trying to keep cool. this is deeply troubling news. we've heard reports of exposed
rods in that number two reactor. and a water level that is dangerously low, keeping the rods from being cooled. it's difficult to say what this means but obviously our thoughts turns to that frightening phrase we heard so often in the last couple days, possible nuclear meltdown. in fact, nhk just reported that the containment vessel, the last defense to prevent a massive leak of radiation, may, in fact, be damaged. scary stuff indeed. let's try and get answers now from our experts and cnn contributor jim walsh of m.i.t. you heard me report this explosion now at the number two reactor. what do you make of this? >> well this is definitely not good news. you know, when i first heard about it, elliott, i thought, you know, we had an explosion at reactor one. the hydrogen built up. it didn't threaten the integrity of the containment vessel. then they put seawater in number three and they had a hydrogen explosion.
so when i first heard this, i thought, you know this is the same movie being played a third time. but, of course, we don't know. it's important to emphasize we do not know. but we're going to know soon. they'll be able to send monitors out soon and find out if it is breeched. if imt is, that's bad news. >> what does the containment vessel do? and when you say breeched, you mean busted open and explain to the folks listening, if that happens then what are we worried about? >> yeah. i want to give cnn a shoutout to a cnn viewer who e-mailed me today. and suggested that i use this metaphor. she said it's like the russian doll that's fit inside one another. the wooden dolls. so the outside doll is the building that contains the reactor. and then within that, there is a containment vessel. that is five, six more feet of
concrete with reinforced steel that houses the reactor so that if there is a meltdown, partial or full, that that radioactivity does not escape out into the environment. so that is the doll inside the doll. and then the final doll is the reactor itself. it's inside this containment vessel. and the idea is if it runs into major problems, at least we have the containment vessel to keep everything inside from leaking outside into the environment. >> so -- >> so if -- >> go ahead, jim. >> yeah. if the containment vessel is breeched that, is to say if there are cracks in it, if there's other problems with it that somehow it's not whole but broken, then that means that the material inside the reactor is able to escape to the outside environment. and this reactor, by the way, is the reactor that was earlier reported today as having had exposed fuel rods which is the other thing you don't want to have happen. because when they're exposed,
they begin to decompose, melt, catch fire. a lot of unpleasant things. and so if the last line of defense on preventing that material from escaping outside into the environment is, in fact, we don't know that, but is in fact the case, then that is -- that's the news no one wants to hear. >> look, i want to pick up on something you said. at the same press conference they reported that half of the rods were exposed, meaning there was no water surrounding them which, as you know in our conversations over the course of the day, you made it clear that means there are likely to melt down and then you got a crisis. you put that together without a containment vessel, what do you get? you get a real dangerous situation. >> no doubt about it. and, you know, obviously one of the questions here, i'm not a nuclear engineer. i'm a nuclear expert, not an nuclear engineer. but you should -- one of the questions here is, okay, well maybe the containment vessel is cracked or maybe it's blown apart. but if it's cracked, you know, like a crack on your windshield,
you can't help but wonder if it's under tremendous pressure will that crack widen and widen? i doubt anyone has the capacity to go in and seal it or close it. so it really is going to pose big challenges to the utility and to the folks on the ground as they try to manage it f there, is in fact -- if, if, if in fact this report is true, and it's not confirmed, there is radiation leaking out, you can imagine how that complicates everything in the area, all the workers, all the people on the ground there trying to pour the seawater in at the other two reactors. suddenly, they face risks they didn't face before. you know, this thing becomes much more complex and much more difficult if -- if the story is true. >> you know, in line with what you just said in terms of the workers, the power company there is withdrawing -- the words here, the operators are being told to evacuate which is the first time they've done that. so clearly, they view this as being substantially more serious than what has been going on
before. and the phrase they used was suppression chamber, the wall at the bottom of the containment vessel may be breeched. so there is another layer of protection. where is the see pregs jam bette suppression chamber? where does that fit into this? >> if they are withdrawing personnel that, is definitely a bad sign. and, again, we don't want to overread this. we don't want to jump to conclusions. maybe err on the side of caution. these folks are brave. several people have been exposed. several workers have been exposed to radiation. i think one or two have actually died on the line in their job trying to help fix this situation. but if they're pulling people back, that means they are concerned that this is the case. that there is a -- some sort of breech that is allowing -- that may allow radioactivity to escape. can you imagine what the implications are. that means all the workers who are there who are trying to manage the situation now have to
pull back. so, you know, who's going to be there to try to maintain the integrity of the other two reactors, try to manage the situation with reactor number two? and oh, by the way, you know, one of the unknowns here and we've had lots of unknowns, lots of uncertainties, is reactor number two was using a different type of fuel. it wasn't using the standard fuel that we traditionally associate with light water reactors. but a mixed oxide fuel, a fuel that probably has uranium and plutonium mixed together which created another uncertainty. and, you know, i -- my heart goes out to people of japan. you know this is just one punch after another after another. i'm sure folks are scared. but i still think we should try to, you know, take a deep breath here and let the facts catch up with the speculation. it certainly doesn't look good. >> you just talked about that mixed fuel. again you were saying this was
stuff that was bought from russia that had been used, am i right, in their nuclear weapons program? and rather than let them keep it or bury it, we decided to buy it and use it for nuclear power. but it raises all these other issues. we don't know how it's going to act if it gets into the atmosphere. >> elliott, that's exactly right. you know, it is sort of deeply ironic and unfortunate. so, you know, the u.s. and soviet union are reducing their nuclear arsenals. we want them to reduce their nuclear arsenals. we want reduction in the nuclear threat. but when you start to dismantle the weapons, what do you do with all the nuclear material that was inside the nuclear weapons? and so there is a big sort of debate between the u.s. and russia about this. the u.s. said let's just bury the stuff. let's just get rid of it and bury it. the russians thought of it quite differently. they thought of it as an asset. and so there is disagreement here. in the mid 90s, the decision was the main thing is let's just get
it out of here in whatever way so sayterrorists don't get it, the decision was, okay, what we'll do with it. we'll take the stuff that used to be in nuclear weapons and burn it in a nuclear reactor and that way we get energy out of it. a lot of u.s. plants using that. other plants are using it, seems to work fine. of course, we've never been in this situation before where this particular fuel is exposed. >> jim, i want -- we have a few seconds left. one nor complication in here. again, you and i were chatting earlier. the issue of the spent fuel rods that are being stored at these facilities that are not inside this containment vessel. they pose another whole type of problem that hasn't gotten a lot of attention. quickly tell us what this is and what the ramifications of that might be. >> yeah. you know, this is a big deal. no one is talking about it. i'm glad you raised it, elliott. you know, first of all, the plants with they run normally, they create waste. en that waste is a deadly, ugly
brew of highly toxic radioactive material. and normally they store it on site in the case of japan, anyway, they send it off to be reprocessed. they store it in the reactor up on the upper levels of the reactor outside the containment vessel. so my colleagues and i have been on facebook wondering well, what happened to this fuel that is up there? it is at risk? will it lose water? will it catch on fire? and we haven't been able to get any good answers. >> and the reality is if that loses water, the same sorts of things can happen to those rods as the rods in the reactor itself. jim, hang out. there stand by. we'll be back in a couple moments. we want to turn to something else for right now. as devastating as this latest news, the truth may be much worse. turns out when it comes to safety, the company that owns these reactors has lied before. drew griffin from special investigations sunt with unit i. >> reporter: i want to add to your conversation. i just listened to a very confusing news conference held
by this company in which they were trying to explain what the two of you, jim and you were speculating on. and they do say now that there was a sound of an explosion in the suppression pool inside the chamber. and they do say that workers are being evacuated though 50 workers will remain on site to try to carry out the continuing cooling operations. obviously, number two reactor is something much different than the other two explosions has happened which is now prompted the evacuations. and as you said, elliott, there is a lot of information coming from this one company, from this one company that really has had problems in the past. that's why so many people are listening to these, sometimes reassuring, sometimes not so reassuring words from a company that they are very skeptical of. three reactors at the fukushima
nuclear plant are now almost certainly dead. never to be used again. the question is, can the danger inside be contained? can the nuclear material be continuously cooled? and can the potential for a dangerous radiation leak into the environment be averted? the tokyo electric power company says so far, yes. but nuclear watch dogs say tepco has misinformed the public before which is why they carefully follow what's happening on the ground. and on the ground, so far, exposure testing is under way and the government has ordered 200,000 people living within 12 miles of the plant to be evacuated. >> history of the japanese nuclear industry and the government that is very closely tight with the industry is less than glorious in regard to public information and full disclosure. what is going on now is actually an illustration of that.
>> reporter: he is an anti-nuclear activist and is extremely concerned that this crisis seemingly under some control may not be under control at all. both japanese government officials have been the private owners of nuclear power plants deny that. but tepco doesn't have a history to inspire confidence. in 2002, the president of the power company and four executives resigned after it was discovered repair and inspection records were falsified. dishonest practices, the company admitted later. >> it was discovered that tepco had covered up incidents of cracking in one of the important pieces of equipment within the reactor vessels of its -- all the reactors. and as a result, they were forced to close down all 17 of their reactors. >> reporter: and the plant with the worst record, fukushima
daiichi, the plant now in trouble. >> a pattern emerged that tepco isn't frank and deliberately covers up to protect its own interests. >> reporter: despite promises to regain public kfs, tepco's honesty was questioned again in 2007 when a 6.8 earthquake struck western japan, shaking the nuclear plant. later the public learned that the fire burned for two hours and hundreds of gallons of radioactive water had leaked into the sea. the plant that is now in trouble survived the most recent quake. a quake stronger than it was designed for. by design, the reactors immediately shut themselves down. good news, according to the spokesperson, for the group that lobbies the u.s. congress on pro nuclear power issues. >> i think as we've seen in japan, despite the magnitude of
that earthquake, they hold up quite well. >> reporter: it turns out surviving the quake was not the end of the crisis. at fukushima daiichi, the packup power supply, 13 diesel electric generators, ran for a while and then failed. the generators failed, so did the water pumps that cooled the reactors. >> you have in total six reactors that have been under great stress with problems cooling the core and just as you think you might have got control of one, then another one goes. >> reporter: elliott, i think that is evident tonight as we're learning of this yet another explosion and of a different type that has happened at this plant. danger could linger for months if not longer if they don't get this thing under control and soon. elliott? >> you know, drew, clearly nobody is trusting the company to be honest at this moment about whether or not there's been a breech in the containment vessel. who is in charge right now? is the government doing testing? is the company reporting this to the public? and where is the information
coming from and who does the public turn to right now to find out what the magnitude of this potential breech is, whether they got to worry about a chernobyl or whether this is all a lot of overwrought rhetoric and concerns that will dissipate over the next 48 hours? >> reporter: there is an agency, similar to our national, you know, nuclear regulatory agency, elliott. it is the nuclear industrial and safety agency. they're putting out statements. almost as soon as they're put out, they're proven wrong. i've been watching their website as well. and, you know, the time lines they're putting out are changing constantly. they're obviously getting their information from the company. and we learned that the u.s. is now been asked to step in and help with this monitoring situation or perhaps offer some technical expertise. i think right now what we have -- and jim walsh can better explain this -- is a panic situation going on. people have been working for days. the problems keep developing. they keep trying to put them out. and i'm not seeing any clear focus coming out of tepco
telling the public what's really going on. the news conference i watched was abysmal. people couldn't answer the questions. >> jim, you've been hearing what drew is saying both about lack of integrity of this company and also what appears to be massive uncertainty in terms of any question that is asked of them. what do you make of this? who would you turn to right now? what can be done given the potential for leaks in the containment vessel, rods exposed, water levels that are inadequate? what do you do at this moment? >> well, i think number one, drew is right. first, he's right about the fact that the history of tepco is, you know, a pretty bad one. one filled with errors and cover-up and not one that inspires confidence. i also agree withdrew. i've been watching the press conferences. not only of tepco press conferences but the press conferences from the government. and they're terrible. and i think part is understandable. you know, the government, they're not nuclear experts. they don't know what's going on. events are changing every day. they're playing catchup.
they don't want to make people panic. people fear about panic. they don't understand that panic is a very narrow class of behavior. and normally doesn't happen under these conditions. so they sort of stonewall. they don't answer questions. and then that creates a void for speculation. and then they make positive statements that get contradicted. and they lose credibility. so, again, i'm sympathetic. my god, they have an tsunami and earthquake they're dealing with. i get. that but if they lows cent now, they're going -- lose credibility now, they're going to pay for it next month, next year, and they'll be dealing with it for quite a while to come. whether it's cleanup, contamination, moving people back, compensation, you know, there are million issues here. if they lose their credibility, they're in deep trouble. and i agree that they -- so far, they're getting better. i think they're getting better over the last couple days. but you listen to the press conferences and they just don't answer any of the questions. >> all right. jim and drew, thank you so much for this conversation. we'll be continuing it over the
next hour and days ahead, no doubt. coming up, is it possible that the japanese government along with the power company officials are deliberately keeping the worst news from us? a shocking report that raises scary questions. first, i want to take a look at some startling images. these pictures show what a japanese village looked like before the tsunami. and then the terrible change. take a look. curtis: welcome back to geico radio, it's savings, on the radio. geck csteve, go right ahead. steve: yeah, u i jt afree rate, curtis: welcome back to geico radio, it's savings, on the radio. saved a ton, and it only took me 5 minutes and 12 seconds! steve: i was wondering that some sort of record? gecko: that's a good question. e 5 milet's have a look.ds! curtis: mmmm, not quite. someone's got you beat by 8 seconds. cko: still, i mean, at's... that's qui steve: well, what if i told you i only used one hand? anncr: geico. 15 nuco save yor insurance.
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another explosion at the nuclear plant in japan. a reactor number three, the one they've been working on to cool all day and all nonessential employees have been evacuated, we're told. very few are left. this is a crisis getting worse every moment. right now we're going to go to anderson cooper standing by in sendai. the port area of that city is one vast wasteland. you're about 60 miles from fukushima. last night you were a lot closer. were you concerned you were getting radiation crossing into the air you were breathing and hitting you? >> reporter: well, i certainly hope not, elliott.
yeah. i mean obviously any time you're in fukushima or near there, that's in the forefront of your mind. we're about 100 kilometer as way and upwind from what -- we were north of it and blowing to the west. so we felt okay where we were. but, look, it is certainly a concern. even in sendai, 120 kilometers away from the fukushima plant, it certainly a concern. but what is amazing is how calm people are here. you know, you see there are long lines for food. there are long lines of people standing in line for water. and sometimes the water runs out. and, yet, you don't see people yelling or arguing. people are just kind of feel like they're all in it together and there is not much else they can do. they just have to make the best of the situation. the situation at sendai, a lot say this is a city of one million people. a lot of the city is untouched. i mean there are places away from the water that the tsunami
never reached. but down, for instance in, this area where i am now which is the port, i mean there are vehicles tossed all around. there are a lot of fatalities in this area. people are trapped in their cars as the waters came washing through. the bodies have been taken away. but their vehicles just strewn all around here. and i was in the area yesterday earlier on monday when i was in a place that used to be rice fields. you couldn't tell it was rights fields. it's now completely a debris field. the debris is about ten feet thick at the very least. so there is really no telling who or how many people may be trapped or dead underneath the debris encased in mud and the wood and concrete and metal that forms this ten-foot layer there. japanese defense force has arrived in the area later in the day just as we were leaving. but they didn't have any heavy earth moving equipment.
they didn't have any dogs. it was just a handful of soldiers with sticks walking around basically trying to smell if there were any fatalities. but there's no telling, really, how many people in an area like that may be buried underneath the rubble. it's a very strange sight to see this debris field that just goes on as far as the eye can see. and it takes a while for your eyes to kind of adjust to what you're actually looking at. and then you realize you're actually standing on an up side down car that is crashed into a house and that house wasn't even there in the first place. that house has moved, you know, hundreds of yards, picked up by the tsunami and deposited in what was once a rice field. so, you know, it's a very fluid situation here. there's a lot of people still in need of food, in need of water. but more than 400,000 people -- 450,000 people, according to the last report i saw had been evacuated -- are now in shelt s
shelters. about 200,000 people have been evacuated from the fukushima area, elliott. but there's a lot of need and certainly there is going to be many days before any kind of normal routine returns for people. >> anderson, it is absolutely shocking. we're just seeing the video and footage. you're there and emotions must be that much more raw when you actually see it and smell it and the enormity of it is just hard to comprehend, even on video. how does this compare to haiti? i mean it's not long ago, unfortunately, we remember that tragedy. no tsunami there, just the earthquake. how do the two compare in order of magnitude and sense of despair and sense of crisis in a society just completely torn apart by natural disaster? >> well, i mean here you have a functioning government. in haiti, you had the leadership, you know, and for generations. and leadership was based on stealing and corruption. so here there is at least, you know, very good infrastructure. this is a -- honestly, very, very well developed society up in northeastern japan.
you know, they're prepared for these kind of things. so a number of the buildings which lasted through the earthquake intablgt, evcintact,e buildings in sendai, there is frt electricity in some parts of soun, there are these neighborhoods that are now debris fields. they're still trying to figure it out. the official death toll is nearly 2,000 people. but the actual death toll may be much higher than that. we, frankly, just don't know. there was about a 30-minute gap from the time the earthquake struck and the time that the tsunami actually hit. and there were warnings so people were often able to seek higher ground. in some cases elderly people and the smaller villages. again, you know, it's a completely different situation than you had in haiti. you really, you know, you do see military personnel here on the ground walking around in a lot
of different areas. in haiti, you never saw any government officials. you never saw any haitian police officers helping people in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. it was, you know, civilians were left up to themselves. here you really do see a big government effort to try to reach some of these outlying areas, elliott. >> i guess onest thin of the th that you're suggesting is those moved and displaced have a confidence that the government is going to get them the food, water, shelter they need. you're talking an enormous logistical issue with half a million people being moved in that one city, just the health needs of this group of people must be vast. but people seem to have the confidence and the comfort that the government will be able to do it. >> reporter: yeah. it's really interesting. i was at a place where they were distributing water yesterday. people were waiting in line for more than an hour. hundreds of people waiting in line. it was a small truck. it was only -- it was in a town of 60,000 people. there were only two small trucks. and they ran out of water.
another vehicle was able to come and help refill a couple of other gallons of water. but there were a lot of people left empty handed. they were only allowed three liters of water a day. you didn't hear people yelling when the government official said i'm sorry, we run out of water. people just kind of accepted it. and, you know, some people continued to stand in line in the hope that water might come. others walked off to try to maybe find food or water somewhere else. so there is kind of this acceptance of the situation. and the same thing i think goes with the nuclear situation. people are kind of watching up here in sendai. there is not much they can do about it and there is not anyplace they can go. so they're just kind of accepting it. and waiting to see what happens. >> all right. anderson, thank you for that report. we'll be checking back in with you later. take care. now we turn to someone we have spoken with that has been close to the nuclear dafrpger in northern japan. you'll remember we spoke on friday to american schoolteacher ryan mcdonald who was in
fukushima when the earthquake hit and shared this astonishing footage. because of the radiation danger, he vak wait ee va evacuated. how you are doing? >> i'm doing 100% better. >> tell us why. you've been evacuated and have food and shelter and water. where are you and how are you doing and what the government is able to do there for you? >> well, at sunday morning at about 1:00 a.m. japan time, a friend of ours heard from one of her friends, a japanese friend, that evacuations are probable and if we were to get on the road at that time, sunday morning at 1:00 a.m., if we were to get on the road that time and drive west, that would be pretty
safe for us. so we did that. we drove. we didn't know where we were going. we just knew we had to get out of there right now. so we're currently in a town that is 60 miles away from the reactor. i would really like to just take a moment to thank mark ericsson and kim steel. they're our friends that allowed us to just completely crash their apartment. four of us. it's not built for four people. but we're safe where we are. we have food. there are long lines just like anderson was saying. there are long lines for food and water. gasoline. they're limited to 2.5 gallons per vehicle. and there are 40 cars lined up down the road. but other than that, i had a shower. i've had a few meals per day. i've been able to sleep a little. we're doing 100% better. >> that's good to hear. certainly better than friday when we were chatting. i'm sure you remember right in the middle of our conversation two or three tremors came
through and we could see how you reacted to that having gone through just the 9.0 earthquake a couple days before. let me ask you, are you concerned right now about what's going on at the nuclear facility about your own exposure? i mean we're getting such inconsistent reports on this thing unfortunately seems to not be going in a terribly positive direction. the third of the three, it's operational to have the serious explosion. what are they telling you and what are your concerns right now on that front? >> well, yeah. that's exactly right. we're getting complicated information from the japanese media and anderson cooper just said the feeling is we're all in this together. that's a big part of japanese culture is group. we're all in this together. we have to hang in there. it means to hang in. there just don't give up. and that's a word we're hearing a lot locally. people usually say hello in japanese.
but others say, you know, we're in this together. another thing that a previous guest on your show said was the media is not answering direct questions. and that is our current problem. i don't believe they're being intentionally deceptive. another component of japanese culture is appearance, how things look and not being direct. they often scold me as an american for being so direct. just asking, can i have a day off? can i do this? in japanese, you go around the subject and the other people figures out what you're talking about. but the problem is the world is watching now. and we're trying to see how we're going to survive. i don't want to -- i don't want you to talk around the point. i want you to just say it. this is the problem. this is the level. this is the danger. but they're not doing that. they're not answering direct questions. and that's our fear. we're snil limbo. we're in a different limbo than friday. we deposit have food or water. now we have food and water, we just don't know what to do. we don't have a plan past the end of this sentence because we're -- we have no solid
information about the radiation levels. is it going to melt down? did it just explode? is it okay? is it not okay? that is our biggest problem right now. we just don't know. >> all right. ryan, look, we'll do our best to make sure that whatever we hear we get on the airwaves and i can see you are an english teacher teaching english to japanese students. you lot of language. i appreciate the little heads up you gave us about the culture. we'll be back in touch. stay safe. we'll be chatting shortly. >> thank you. >> all right. where could all this radiation go? the answer may be blowing in the wind. stay with us. [ female announcer ] it's lobsterfest. the one time of year red lobster creates so many irresistible ways to treat yourself to lobster. like our new lobster-and-shrimp trio with a parmesan lobster bake, our decadent lobster lover's dream with both sweet maine and buttery rock lobster tails
fukushima, japan. more concerns about how dangerous the situation may be or how dangerous it will become. we know radiation is leaking from the plant. the big questions now are how much and where does it go snt wind plays a huge role in who is affected. here to tell us about this and where the wind is going is cnn meteorologist chad meyers. chad, what's the latest? >> for the next 24 hours, conditions could be worse. we have a low pressure center almost like a nor'easter off the east coast of the u.s. it's off the east coast of japan. it is going to bring in winds. it already is in tokyo from the northeast. when we see the e, the winds are always from where they're from. a northeast wind is coming from the northeast. when we see the e that, is a bad thing. with we see a w, from the west, that's good. the radiation gets push the off into the ocean and away from land. when we see this northeast, we get concerned. for the next 20 hours, we will have an e in our forecast.
the winds will come out of the northeast because of one low. and then another low that develops behind it. there is the southeast. and then finally, the cold front goes by late tomorrow night. and winds will be off shore. but for the next 20 to 24 hours, any major radiation release will be push the back on to the people of japan. >> chad, will cane here. there's been a lot of questions about what the levels of radiation are and where they're going to go. there's at least some concern that some of it could reach the united states. whether or not the western edge of canada or washington, california. what would impact that? are there jet streams running across the pacific that can bring radioactive particles our way? the word potential is big. literally, there would have to be a mass amount of radiation z discharged. a lot of this radiation, literally, the half life may be eight seconds or released.
it's released and then radioactive and then it's gone. so in eight seconds it's not going to make it to america. so the longer life isotopes may get into the wind and the jet stream which comes from the west. if you ever fly from new york to l.a., it always takes longer going from l.a. to new york. the wind is always coming from the west. so, yes, the wind could get here. seven to ten days after a major radiation exposure or leak. we haven't seen anything like the word majorette. let's hope it doesn't happen. but it's possible. but not yet. >> i just got to ask you this question. i don't know if this is fair to ask you. i never did understand that wind could affect radiation. i thought it was kind of like sunlight that it was like gamma rays or rays that went through the wind and the elements and somehow the wind wouldn't move it around. the wund doesn't affect how much sunlight we get.
can you explain that to me? if it's not in your zone or expertise, i get it. this was complete news to me when reading about this today. >> i read about it yesterday. and then i asked a bunch of nuclear physicists at georgia tech about it. i said wait a minute, radiation just goes in all direction, doesn't it? they said, yes. at the site. if there is a major release of radiation, then, yes. if the core melts down, then that's not even close to talking about yet. but if the core melts down, radiation does go everywhere, yes. but it is also all these rays, all thee particles, any piece of water vapor or dust or whatever that is radioactive will get picked up by the wind and it will get pushed downwind. yes, there is a major radioactive that's goes in all directions from there originally. but it gets picked up. the mass of it will get picked up and pushed alock. you're only one day behind me. you're good. >> in that case, i feel good. >> chad, i have one more
question. nonradiation related. so we see pictures of the massive rescue attempts going on. there no food, water and importantly power in japan. what kind of weather are the rescuers dealing with? what is the temperature on the ground and so forth in japan? >> yeah. good point. this cold front, this west wind that comes in behind this next low is going to be very, very cold. the jet stream is coming in. the low comes in. this cold front is going to be very important to the air temperatures. we'll be down to 27 degrees fahrenheit in the morning hours. and a high of only 39 tomorrow. now that's a high of 39. you don't even get a chance to warm up and there is going to be snow in the forecast soon. not a lot of it. we even saw some snowflakes coming down in the video we picked up today. cold, cold air. it's winter time. this is the same latitudes that we have as well. and so it's going to be 27, 28 for all the rescuers. more importantly, people that are trapped in a void that they're still alive, they're
going to be very cold as well for the next few days. it doesn't warm up until saturday or sunday of next weekend. >> all right. chad, thank you so much. >> sure. >> coming up, fears over nuclear power here at home. just how safe are we? that's coming up next. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. and celebrex is not a narcotic. when it comes to relieving your arthritis pain, you and your doctor need to balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning.
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growing here at home. 100 reactors in the country, can we trust the president's push to build more. jeff, thanks so much for joining us. before we even get to nuclear power, though, take a look at the charts up on the screen. the nikkei dropped 6% on friday. down 5% just after the open this morning, tuesday morning now in japan. are they about to dive into a press fis in terms of equity markets? >> the equity markets are reflecting this huge loss of wealth. i think the economy, as devastate the as it is in that area, probably will recover nationwide. the experiences even with the terrible, terrible hits like this one, the kobe earthquake in 1995, the chilean earthquake last year, the deconomy as a whole, if it's not a desperate situation in haiti but rather modern and well managed economy
like japan's should bounce back. we shouldn't see a huge economic crisis other than the human and economic devastation in the area of concern. >> and if i'm right, the prefecture which is the geographic or this sort of governmental unit where these tsunami hit and where the power plants are, only constitutes 2% of the total japanese economy. so it's a reasonably small number and the overall expanse of an enormous japanese economy. >> yeah. we've seen estimates up to 7% or 8% of the aekt iff affected are. it is shocking. it's heartbreaking what we're seeing. but the japanese economy as a whole is very large. even when the estimates of 200 or 300 or 400 billion dollars of losses are given, that should be compared with the $6 trillion annual output. so this is still modest from the point of view of the overall economy. it's horrific. but it does mean that japan will bounce back from this. >> they have the resources to
bounce back to invest, rebuilding the infrastructure. they'll have to overcome energy shortages with the nuclear power plants being out for a while. they have the we will toth do that. >> and even they have some xpar capacity that they'll be able to draw upon. that was not an economy running at the very edge of employment. so they have spare capacity that this they can draw and they have great capacity to invest. and they'll do that. >> meaning they'll be able to borrow to spend the money. >> they will be borrowing, of course. they have a big debt that they've accumulated over a long time. but the amount that's they'll have to borrow for this won't be so large as to stop them from rebuilding. >> i'm going to ask you to do something that may seem virtually impossible at this precise moment in time. you are, if i'm -- correct me if i'm wrong, a huge fan of nuclear power. >> well -- >> you defend it. >> against the images of what is going on. >> i believe that we'll see after this also in japan, in china, in the united states and europe nuclear power will remain
part of the mix. the problem is there are no great energy sources where everything is wonderful. what we do for most of our electricity is coal. that doesn't kill us this way. it just wrecks the global climate. and so we end up with the droughts, floods, disastrous hurricanes. they show up in a dufrn way. nu different way. nuclear power, we have more than 100 nuclear power plants in this country that have run safely for decades. we had, of course, the three mile island disaster. but even there there wasn't a massive loss of life. just four or five incidents. so nuclear power on the whole is safe to now resist a 9.0 earthquake, one of the biggest in modern history, biggest in japan at 300 years, and a giant tsunami, they didn't do that. and there's a lot of learning also about backup systems and backup systems of backup systems. but i would very much doubt that
this will derail the role of nuclear because it has a role to play in almost all high income economies. >> look, so against the backdrop of chernobyl which is the worst nuclear disaster i'm aware of that we've ever experienced in modern civilization, and then three mile island, the domestic horror story. but without loss of life and ambiguous health consequences even in that region. you say the alternatives pose their own problems and other countries, 80% is nuclear power. so is there a moment still when nukes will be viewed as a stopgap to carry us over until we get solar renewables of some other sort? >> well, some day solar power potentially could power the world because there's enough incoming solar radiation that if we're effectively captured could provide all the electricity
nooets needs on t needs on the planet. but right now it's not economic. and so there is a very practical transition which could be decades and decades that we have to find ways not to wreck the climate, wreck the planet, have an economy that functions and not be so dangerous. and, of course, the engineers are going to have to go back and say what are we learning from this disaster other than the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami is devastating? what can one learn about the back backup systems? >> you are making the very rational data based argument that economists love to make about nuclear power versus coal or some of the alternatives even oil which have their own environmental problems and risks to human life as we just saw with the horror show in the gulf with the drilling rig that blew up recently. however, the backdrop to this is politics. after three mile island, it's been 30 years without any nuclear construction in the united states because of the political backlash. how can you push back against
that? is there a coalition still to be formed that can survive what inevitably will be the sort of horrific public relations at a munn mum that the knew lar power industry will face because of this? >> well, of course, this is not the day to make that case and i think that the point that i would just remind all of us, maybe won't make people feel better but the fact of the matter is that since three mile island which was 1979, we have more than 20% of our electricity provided year in and year out by nuclear. so it's not a question should the u.s. adopt nuclear power? we have nuclear power. it's a major part of our economy. it will remain a major part tomorrow as well. >> quickly, in the last moments we have left, our domestic economy, will it be affected by what is going on in japan? are we still bouncing around without any direction? >> i don't think the japanese events are going to do much here
at all. we have a very high unemployment and modest recoveriment we have a lot of crazy policies going on in washington. one of them is that the republicans are cutting the science and the warning systems that protect us from this kind of disaster. i want to say to the majority leader who says we have no money to monitor earthquakes and tsunamis and to keep the national ocean graphic and atmospheric administration running. what is he talking about? tax a few rich people, you can easily pay for what would keep the 300 million of us safe. they're making terrible decisions. this should be a weakup call to our congress to stop being so anti-scientific, to stop nekting these powerful forces of nature which is what they're doing all the time. >> are you saying you want a heads brup that tsunami heads over the coastline? >> i think it would be nice if we had some science and monitoring here and not to cut the agencies right now when we
see what this means. >> look, my editorial comment is not only are you exactly correct but where the cuts are being discussed is the worst possible place. that's the nature of politics in washington right now. hopefully that will change. jeff, thank you so much. still ahead, the latest on the crisis in japan in a live report. our our just to eat or drink. i've got time to kill. yeah right! i'm a working woman. and i'm busy. why should osteoporosis therapy disrupt my morning routine? with new atelvia there's no wait. unlike other osteoporosis medicines... atelvia has a delayed- release formulation... so you can take it right after breakfast and help protect your bones. do not take atelvia if you have esophagus problems, low blood calcium, severe kidney disease, or cannot sit or stand for 30 minutes. follow all dosing instructions. stop taking atelvia and tell your doctor if you experience difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain or severe or continuing heartburn, which may be signs of serious upper digestive problems. tell your doctor if you develop dental or jaw problems,
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nuclear facility in fukushima. this is what the last of the three that was operating. this is the worst perhaps because we are hearing reports that the containment vessel itself may be breeched. we hate to be overreacting, but the words meltdown are being repeated over and over again. and now the pressure is built up, leaks are being discussed. and what we're going to do now is go live to the nhk press conference which is in japan where they're discussing this new development again, an explosion at the last of the three major nuclear facilities there that was in the path of the earthquake and the tsunami. >> -- in the vessel. so that something has leaked out causing the pressure to go down. meaning, some radioactive material could have seeped out. so we understand that the radioactive reading is 965.5 micro dbsie-- sieverts which ise
high. how we deal with the situation is going to be very critical from now on. >> translator: on site, the operators are told to evacuate because if they remain in the area, they're not immediately exposed to health risks. but if they stay there for many hours, they may be exposed to a large amount of those. so that's why they are ordered to be evacuated. the radiation level measured in and around compound, how do you assess what seems radioactive substance is being released to some extent? >> translator: that why we're getting the higher level of readings. but we don't know -- >> all right. this is devastating news now. this third explosion, what we're